How does hepatitis c usually begin?
1.0.5 How does hepatitis c usually begin?
Different people react to the HCV virus differently. For a few patients, the illness begins suddenly as though one had come down with the flu, except that this “flu” doesn’t seem to get completely better. For many other patients, the onset appears gradually over a long period of time. Infants and young children often have no symptoms at all.
Many other symptoms may be present; typically they are different among different patients. These include: fatigue, low-grade fever, headaches, slight sore throat, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and stiff or aching joints.
Many people develop a pain in the right side, over the liver area.
The urine may become dark brown, and the feces may be pale. In severe acute infections, some people may develop jaundice in which the skin and whites of the eyes become yellowish.
The severity of symptoms can differ widely among patients, and will also vary over time for the same patient. It can range from getting unusually fatigued following stressful events, to being totally bedridden and completely disabled. The symptoms have a tendency to wax and wane over time.
The liver many functions, including these:
- Stores iron reserves, as well as vitamins and minerals
- Detoxifies poisonous chemicals, including alcohol and drugs (prescribed and over-the-counter medicines as well as illegal substances). Acts as a filter to convert them to substances that can be used or excreted from the body
- Converts the food we eat into stored energy and chemicals necessary for life and growth
- Makes blood products
- Manufactures new proteins
- Makes clotting factors to help blood clot
- Manufactures bile, an enzyme used in breaking down fats and in waste disposal
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